Africa's wildlife deserves more than a tweet.
UPDATE 03/09/2018: Trump Administration reverses promise to ban trophy imports. On March 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a memo announcing its decision to issue permits to import elephant and lion trophies from Africa on a case-by-case basis. AWF calls on President Trump to provide leadership and clarify this decision to consider permits, as it contradicts his earlier position.
Due to a lack of transparency, and lack of information in response to AWF’s Freedom of Information Act request, AWF is not convinced that the U.S. government’s current decision-making process on elephant and lion trophies is based on reliable data.
AWF asks the U.S. government to consult with the conservation community before taking policy positions that have critical implications for Africa’s threatened species.
UPDATE 11/20/2017: AWF filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Interior to better understand U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to allow the importation of lion and elephant hunting trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
On Nov. 17, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that it reversed the ban on importation of elephant and lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Later that night, in a Twitter message, Donald Trump said:
Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
It takes more than a tweet to ensure a future for elephants and lions. The repeal appears to be on hold — for now. However, until the ban is officially reinstated this decision by the Trump administration forfeits the leadership role of the United States in the critical fight against illegal wildlife trafficking and threatens already vulnerable populations of elephants and lions.
Announced just after the establishment of the new International Wildlife Conservation Council — whose membership is dominated by the U.S. gun lobby and hunting groups — this reversal shows a trend toward Washington, DC cronyism entering the international conservation effort.
What you need to know:
- Africa’s elephant population has declined by 30 percent in seven years, and according to the IUCN Red List there could be as few as 20,000 lions.
- China has historically been the largest market for ivory globally, and its decision to end trade in ivory resulted in a 65 percent drop in ivory’s market value.
- Due to the rapid and unsustainable decline of lions, elephants, and rhinos across Africa, we cannot support any human activity that feeds the demand for illegal wildlife products.
- Just ahead of this decision, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the establishment of the International Wildlife Conservation Council — whose membership includes gun and hunting groups.
Keep the pressure up. Tell Trump to reinstate the ban on elephant trophies. Send a message to President Trump to voice your outrage and let him know you want to see elephants and lions protected.